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Skills for the North: Devolving technical education to cities

The north of England needs a skilled workforce and a system for skills development that meets the changing needs of the regional economy. At present qualifications levels across the north of England are lower than for England as a whole. A higher proportion of the population of the north have no qualifications or a qualification at or below Level 3 as their highest qualification, while a lower proportion hold a degree or other Level 4 certification. Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that skills needs in the north of England are different from those of the UK as a whole. Devolving some powers and budgets for skills would help to align provision with regional economic and social priorities, and to create more agile and efficient systems. For this project, we worked with officers from a small group of northern Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) who are engaged in skills devolution and related issues, to identify the opportunities of this policy and develop recommendations for its future.